Today's rain doesn't appear to be letting up tonight for our monthly
sidewalk astronomy in Old town Pasadena, and the forecast for Saturday
night has worsened. We'll make that call tomorrow, but I wouldn't plan
an excursion for cloudy night moon and planet viewing. We'll post an
announcement if we're going our tomorrow night. Leaning towards
weathered out conditins/cancellation.
So it's a weekend for armchair astronomy! Mojo and I have made weekend
treks to two dark sky locations on the two past weekends.
Mojo brings our Astro-Physics Traveler - a spectacular small telescope
well suited to astrophotography out to the desert when we can get away,
and are not doing National Park public viewing (which is most of the
time). Read his last two weekend stories, and gaze at his pretty images
I picked a few interesting visual targets to write about, and I hauled
my huge 17.5 inch reflector out to the desert the last two weekends. I
selected a few targets that NASA telescopes or astronomers have also
studied to look at. http://jane.whiteoaks.com/
My monthly What's Up video is all about the upcoming Nov 25 launch of
the Mars Science Laboratory, also known as the Curiosity rover, plus
something about planetary magnetospheres. Here's the JPL Youtube link
There's also a good short video about the science planned for Tuesday's
close flyby of Asteroid YU55 on that Youtube page, right above my
video. Nasa will use Earth as a spacecraft to image this asteroid as it
whizzes by, and will use the huge radio antennae out in the Mojave
Desert at Goldstone to measure this thing. Usually we have to fly "to"
the object to study it. This time the object comes "to" us - close
enough to Earth to use our ground based telescopes, but far enough away
not to worry about it any danger.
Amateur astronomers wonder if YU55 can be seen in backyard telescopes.
If your backyard is really dark, and you know exactly where to look, and
you have charts to show where it will be, you might see it, and those
lucky observers will see it move in the eyepiece view. This
writer/amateur astronomer from Duluth MN has some excellent charts and a
Jane (and the Old Town Sidewalk Astronomers)
Jane Houston Jones
What's Up Podcast-November 2011
Mars launch, Planetary magnetospheres
NASA podcast: http://is.gd/bSXeAl
Youtube site: http://is.gd/kPUtSx
My Blog: http://jane.whiteoaks.com/